Some Brain Research to Suck On

I’ve been reading a lot of fascinating and very encouraging brain research.

Try on these concepts for size:

Neurons that fire together, wire together. Neurons that fire apart, wire apart.

Brain research shows that our brains structure themselves by how we use them. Neural pathways we re-use tend to persist. We can change those patterns, and hence the way we think, our habits and patterns of action.

We can unlearn compulsions and bad habits by replacing compulsive behaviors with a pleasurable alternative, applying focused attention, and repeating. Focused attention (not multi-tasking) on the desirable new connection expedites creating the new neural pathway. Creating new pathways may not be quick, but slow and steady practice results in dramatic growth of new pathways.

In brain activity, imagining an act and doing that act are not that different.

Research shows that focusing your brain on what you want to be or create changes the structure of your brain, your thoughts, your actions and your outcomes.

Cultivating a Growth Mindset will make you more successful at anything.

People who believe they are capable of learning, growth and change have dramatically different results because they don’t give up when things are hard. They know things are hard at first and then get easier, so they persevere.

So for today – take one of these bits of research seriously.

  1. Pick a pleasurable good habit you’ll substitute for a bad habit you want to change.
  2. Set aside short breaks through the day to envision achieving a goal in detail.
  3. Practice and reinforce the belief that you have the ability to change yourself, even what you may think of as your most basic qualities.

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science. Norman Doidge, M.D. Penguin Books, 2007.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. Chip & Dan Heath. Broadway Books, 2010.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Carol Dweck. Random House, 2006

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